In a half joking way, Dan Gillmor asked me yesterday to keep him informed about the best parties in Davos. Like any great networking event, much of the best value of Davos does come from the informal occasions. As someone who has graduated out of newbie status (this will be Dan’s second year), I’m confident he’ll find his way to the hot ticket events. True newbies, however, need more guidance.
The easiest path for those seeking the Davos fringe is to find your way to the Steigenberger Belvedere hotel from about six each evening. The Belvedere has been the grand hotel of Davos since the 19th century when Europe’s finest went to the mountains for rest and respiratory cures. During the Davos summit, it’s where a lot of CEOs and prime ministers want to stay (even though it’s not, truth to tell, anywhere as nice a hotel as the Seehof or a couple of others). What is unquestionable is that it is where the receptions and parties are most numerous. On any given evening, there will be at least three cocktail parties. Most evenings, there will be a nightcap as well.
When I first started going to Davos in the early ’90s, there was far less fringe activity. Now, just about every available hour is taken up with something: breakfast seminars (on and off the programme), the official programme from breakfast through dinner, private lunches, cocktail parties, private dinners, and a bunch of nightcaps (again, on and off the programme). One of the nice things about Davos is that if you have a white badge, you’re always welcome at the parties, whether you have an invitation or not.